The science is settled. Human activities that emit greenhouse gasses (GHG) are warming the planet and causing devastating climate change. Current GHG emissions levels must be halved by 2030 and net-zero GHG emissions must be reached by 2050 to contain global warming at a sub-catastrophic level. As fossil fuel-based energy production is a leading cause of GHG emissions, clean energy technologies play a vital role in a sustainable future for the planet.
The cost of solar and wind energy has fallen considerably over the past decade and no longer yields a significant cost disadvantage compared to fossil fuels. Next-generation renewable technologies such as waste-to-energy, sustainable fuels, fusion energy, geothermal, wave, and tidal, etc. are still at a nascent stage but can be expected to follow similar declining cost principles as they scale. Next-generation advancements in energy storage, and energy optimization and management are also vital in matching the intermittent supply of renewable energy with inflexible demand.
The Covid-19 pandemic has made consumers more open to shifting behavior toward environmental protection.
In a April 2020 survey, 48% of respondents said that the pandemic had made them more concerned about the environment.
Environmental activists are urging governments to pass Covid-19 stimulus packages that invest in a ”Green Recovery”.
Several ClimateTech-Energy startups adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic by offering new services to customers.
BBOXX: Offered discounts to support underprivileged households.
LanzaTech: Produced hand sanitizers and disinfectants from ethanol byproducts of its biorefinery operations.
Innowatts: Claimed that its artificial intelligence (AI)-based grid management solution was able to accurately predict large fluctuations in electricity demand during lockdowns.
At the same time, some ClimateTech-Energy startups experienced business hardships due to the pandemic.
Oxford PV’s plans to commence production at its new facility were postponed by one year due to Covid-19-led shipping delays.
Hydrostor abandoned its plans to build a compressed air renewable energy storage facility in Australia
The Climate Tech - Energy industry is dominated by Stationary and Non-stationary Energy Storage Startups. They have also received the most amount of funding. Majority of the pre-seed and seed stages startups are from the Third-generation Renewables and Non-stationary Energy Storage segments. Most of the early and growth stage startups are from Stationary Energy Storage and Energy Optimization and Management Software segments.
The capital intensive nature of this industry has led many ClimateTech-Energy startups to raise significant funding at very early stages of their operations. This appetite for cash has also prompted many Climate Tech - Energy startups to seek public funds fairly quickly, sometimes even while the business is still at conceptual stages—mostly through unconventional methods such as special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) deals and over-the-counter (OTC) listings.
Heliogen focuses on generating electricity and heat using an array of computer-controlled mirrors (heliostats) that collect and concentrate sunlight to generate ultra-high temperatures of around 1,000 °C.
Heliogen offers three solutions: 1) HelioHeat uses the company's solar concentration technology in heat-intensive industrial applications such as production of cement, lime, and steel, etc. to reduce the use of fossil fuels to generate heat; 2) HelioPower combines solar concentration with supercritical CO2 turbines to generate electricity to power industrial facilities, data centers, and mining operations; 3) HelioFuel uses solar concentration to produce renewable-hydrogen.
As of August 2022, Heliogen had two contracts to develop modules, with aims to contract a third by the end of the year. The company also successfully operates a demonstration site in California. In November 2020, Heliogen received a grant of USD 39 million from the US Department of Energy to develop a supercritical carbon dioxide power cycle that operates using Heliogen’s concentrated solar thermal energy.
In October 2021, Heliogen partnered with Woodside Energy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the leading Australian energy producer Woodside Petroleum, to develop a five-megawatt concentrated solar demonstration facility in California. Construction of the facility is expected to begin in 2022. In May 2022, the project received USD 50 million funding from Woodside. In August 2022, the company also partnered with Dimensional Energy , to produce SAF from concentrated sunlight and green hydrogen.
Heliogen’s most recent funding event was in June 2021 when it raised USD 83 million from investors including ArcelorMittal (a Luxembourg-based multinational steel manufacturer), Edison International, Prime Movers Lab, Ocgrow Ventures, A.T. Gekko, and 8090 Partners to accelerate the global deployment of its technology.
In December 2021, Heliogen was listed on NYSE through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger. The company received USD 188 million from the transaction and expects to use the proceeds to scale heliostat manufacturing and R&D activities.
Renewables: NextGen Solar, Wind, Hydro:
Renewables: NextGen Bioenergy and Sustainable Fuels:
Oil and gas and other fossil fuel energy companies are increasingly adopting ClimateTech to meet their sustainability commitments. While these initiatives are still mostly conventional renewable energy generation projects such as solar and wind, some companies, especially oil and gas supermajors, are also gradually exploring next-generation ClimateTech solutions such as bioenergy and sustainable fuels.
Non-stationary energy storage and energy optimization and management software segments are also home to a considerable amount of incumbent companies. Diversified electronics companies such as LG, Panasonic, and Samsung dominate the EV battery industry while Tesla and Volkswagen have announced plans to move battery production in-house.
Top smart meter companies such as Landis+Gyr and Itron complement their smart metering solutions with legacy energy optimization and management software. Diversified technology companies like General Electric and Cisco also provide similar solutions globally.
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